Posted: May 31st, 2009 - 10:08am
Considering that 18 months is a quick turnaround in the cookbook world, it’s startling to imagine that editors in the Kobe-and-caviar-foam days of 2007 foresaw that selling Americans on canning and pickling, curing their own bacon, charring meat and baking something called a grunt was a good way to boost sales. If I start seeing galley proofs for “101 Stone Soups,” I’m stockpiling water and Valrhona.
This summer’s selection is a modest palate cleanser after last fall’s celebrity-chef-food-porn-o-copia, with its Mount Everest-level recipes and don’t-spill-on-me design. (Disclosure: I wrote one of those books. Full disclosure: The last time I cooked from it, I substituted trout roe for caviar.) There are a few celebrity chefs in the mix, but they’re mostly on grill duty, or making things that go well with beer. Instead, there are chefs you’ve never heard of, but whose restaurants you will now want to visit; there are lab-rat cooks who methodically test each recipe as though their government grants depended on it; and there are some culinary civilians with nice taste.